Charles Olsen, a fifth-year
senior on the Pepperdine men's water polo team, has a lot of insight from his time
here at Pepperdine. He shares with us his goals for the rest of the season and
his plans for the future:
Q: How has the season been going
A: The season has been good. We started off pretty
strong, but we were not playing the hardest teams. We were 9-0 to begin with.
Then we started playing some really good teams. Our first hard game was against
Cal and we played really well, and we only lost by a couple of goals. That was
the first time we realized that we could do really well this season. We had
more games where we only lost by one or so goals. I feel like we are there, we
just need to figure out flow out a little more and play better from the
Q: How is the team preparing in
order to repeat being GCC Tournament champions and trying to get to the NCAA
A: Our coaches have really emphasized the details. In
practice, we would sometimes have 15 minutes to warm up on our own. We would
not take advantage of that and just mess around. So our coaches have taken a
stronger hold on how we are warming up and how we carry ourselves on and off
the pool deck. They want us to focus on the times where it would be easier to
just chill and relax, but instead use them to focus on opportunities that we
are missing to improve our game.
Q: What are your personal goals
for the season?
A: My personal goal is to be the best I can be. It is my
last year, so I want to be remembered as someone who had grit and did not fold
when we got down. I want to really believe we can win when we play a good team
and do my best under a lot of pressure.
Q: What do you think your role
on the team is?
A: I am not a starter, but I am usually first or second
off the bench. My job is to go in for our captain Mark Urban, and play as hard
as I can against his defender and swim his defender up and down the pool, bug
him as much as I can, so that when Mark comes back in, his defender is too
tired and Mark can get past him easily. I do score every now and then, but my
main role is to go in and make Mark's job easier.
Q: What is it like being a
A: It is crazy. This morning at weights, this old song
came on when we were lifting and it reminded me of the first month I was at
Pepperdine lifting in the same gym. I looked at the freshmen, and thought about
how quickly these years go by. It is about to be over, but it has been fun.
Q: What would you tell your
freshman self, knowing all that you know now?
A: I would for sure tell myself to do better in school
and to be smarter about who you confide in and trust. When I was a freshman, I
hung out with whoever I met first. Those people were people who were not making
the best choices, and I saw myself doing the same thing they were doing. I
think it is important to take a long-term approach. You are going to have your
fun in college, and there is no specific thing you have to do in order to have
fun. I would tell myself to branch out more from the beginning.
Q: Do you have any post-grad
A: I have a few. I want to be an FBI agent, but I have
to have three years of professional experience before I can even apply. I need
to go out and do something really well and then I can apply. I am thinking
about getting an MBA or starting my own company.
Q: What made you want to be an
A: Both of my parents were FBI agents. My mom recently
retired and when she was giving her retirement speech she noted how she got to
have such an impact on the world and as a mother her job is to keep her son
safe. She really felt that as she was doing her job, she was making the world a
better place for me. I think it is really cool to have such a direct impact. I
feel like both of my parents have really kept me safe.
Q: Looking back over the past
years, what has been your favorite memory?
A: I feel like people want to say when we won the GCC
Tournament, but it wasn't that for me at all. I actually did not play in that
game. I did not play well the whole tournament and I understand why the coaches
didn't play me and I honestly did not trust myself to play. That moment was
really cool, but the best moments for me were more like the bus ride up to the
tournament. We had dinner together and we would all stack up our phones in the
middle and talk to one another. It was the little things that might not be the
most fun in the moment, but those are the best moments to look back on. Winning
is great, but what stands out more is the journey and they guys you become men
Q: Is there anything you want to
do before leaving Pepperdine that you have not gotten to do yet?
A: If we could make it to the NCAA Tournament and give it
our best that would be great. I think that is definitely feasible for us. In
general, I want to meet as many people as I can before I am done. In the future
I am not going to have this many cool and smart people around me all the time.
It is so cool to make connections with other students and teachers here at